There are times in all relationships when one faces challenges too complex or overwhelming to handle on their own. A relationship may be facing outside stressors such as the loss of a loved one, medical illness, or unemployment. Couples may struggle with different ideas about managing finances or parenting. Many can benefit from learning ways to improve communication skills. Misunderstandings do not have to rapidly turn to frustration and anger. There are solutions.
Changes in Relationships
Marriage and relationships can be deeply affected by brain health. Sleep disorders, insomnia, old brain injuries, memory issues, and hormone imbalance can all contribute to marital strife. Even aging and stress can affect our overall brain functioning. In marital counseling it is important to identify all these issues.
Our certified therapists assess a couple’s strengths and growth areas by using a variety of methods, including a customized tool by Life Innovations, called Prepare/Enrich. This tool is firmly grounded in years of research, and is one of the most widely used pre-marital counseling tools. Prepare/Enrich is also helpful for married couples, dating couples, and those considering engagement.
Emotional intelligence allows one to manage difficult emotions and feelings, communicate clearly, and is a skill that can be learned at any stage of life. A person with a strongly developed emotional awareness is aware of his or her feelings without having to think about them. They also use emotional cues to understand others and communicate more effectively.
Learning effective communication skills allows one to improve their relationship with their spouse, children, friends and co-workers. It enables one to be able to discuss negative or difficult topics without creating conflict or destroying trust. Good communicators go beyond simply exchanging information through attentive listening, managing stress, and recognizing emotions which allows them to understand and be understood by others.
Attachment Bonding and Relationships
Individuals who experience confusing, frightening, or broken emotional communications during infancy/childhood often grow into adults who have difficulty understanding their own and others’ emotions. This limits their ability to build or maintain successful relationships.
On the other hand, people who experience stable and secure attachments during infancy/childhood are better able to manage stress, understand their emotions, respond to conflict in a healthy way, form strong boundaries, and be readily forgiving.
Grief and Bereavement
Grief is most often associated with the loss of a loved one, but any loss can cause grief. These may include, but are not limited to divorce, lost trust, declining health, unemployment, or a crushed dream.
For people dealing with loss, it is important to remember that there is no timetable for grief. While each person grieves differently, there are ways to cope and heal the pain that accompanies these difficult seasons. We are here to help and to provide a safe place to heal.
God created sexual intimacy to be a blessing in marriage, but, at times, it can be a source of pain. Men and women have different needs and perspectives on sex. Too often, marital conflict results from challenges in the area of sexual intimacy.
Abuse, stress, past sexual experiences, infidelity, and poor communication can all contribute to problems with sexual intimacy. Addressing sexual intimacy issues may require that we focus more on a particular spouse; however, because true intimacy can only be experienced between two people in a safe, loving relationship, it is important to invite the other spouse into the healing process.
Teens still need the love and attention of their parents no matter how emotionally withdrawn, independent, or troubled they appear. Although a teen may be bigger than the parent, and mature in some respects, their brain is still developing. Teenagers process information differently than grown adults. The frontal cortex (responsible for emotions, decisions, reason, and self-control) is restructured during the teen years. In fact, teenagers’ brains rely more heavily on the amygdala, a part of the brain responsible for emotional reactions.
Conflict can trigger strong emotions and lead to hurt feelings, disappointment, and discomfort. When a person lacks the skills to resolve conflict in a healthy way, it can cause misery, resentment, and even end relationships. Resolving conflict goes beyond just managing anger. It requires learning the skills necessary to respond appropriately to stress, practicing anger management strategies, and becoming emotionally aware.
It is never too late to learn these skills. We can help.